Living Blue In A Red State….

Reagan ObamaOne of my favorite FaceBook pages is a group called “Living Blue in a Red State”. ¬†Having lived in Indiana most of my life I can so relate to that theme. I don’t know if you have noticed this but for as long as I can remember when the network news starts on presidential election night they always start with “We are ready to call a State for (whichever Republican is running) and then they say Indiana. I know what it is like to live Blue in a Red State. I don’t know if I am true blue or just a shade of purple but one thing is for sure, except for my bleeding heart I am NOT red! I simply care too much for my fellowman to throw any of them under the bus as so many of those “red” folks tend to do.

A recent post on the “Living Blue..” site showed the picture to the right. ¬†Up until 1980 I most often voted for Republicans. Maybe it was because I just hadn’t matured enough to know what I was doing! ūüôā ¬†But when Mr. Reagan was running his “trickle down” logic just made no sense to me. His anti-government stands were just too radical for me. ¬†I am a firm believer in the purpose of government is to do the people’s business and to protect us from the inevitable abuses of a capitalist system. ¬†Mr. Reagan espoused almost an opposite view from me. ¬†So as the Bible says I for the most part shook off the dust from my sandals and went elsewhere with my vote. I think that if things continue the way they are now many more people who vote Republican will be doing likewise.

But of course if Reagan were running today he would be quickly dismissed by the folks who control the current GOP as just too liberal. But there is at least a substantial group of Republicans who continue to treat Reagan as some sort of god of the GOP. While Mr. Reagan was in office he basically tripled the deficit but that is seldom mentioned by my conservative friends. Instead they like to rant on and on how Mr. Obama drastically increased it when he came into office. I am certain that if Mr. Bush had not left the country on the verge of financial Armageddon due to his constant cutting of regulations Mr. Obama’s deficits would be minuscule. My Tea Party friends love to say that they would have just let the country go down in flames instead of bailing out those too big to fail. But then again the so-called bailout is turning out to be one of the most profitable investments made by government in many years. ¬†They have now actually turned a pretty substantial profit as a result of the bailout and as soon as Wall Street quits playing with the price of General Motors stock and allows it to reach its real value the government profits will go up even more.

Now I’m not saying as most Republicans were chanting in the 1980s that deficits are actually a good thing. ¬†Mr. Stockman and his crowd had them thoroughly convinced that deficits were actually good for¬†the country. I have always been one to live within my means and I think our governments should also except maybe under extraordinary circumstances and there have been only a few “extraordinary circumstances” in my lifetime….

About The Debt…

We are three billion in the hole and will be three billion more next year, and not a Congressman has got the nerve to ask voters to pay part of it. ¬†— ¬†January 29, 1933 ¬† ¬†Will Rogers

Obviously this quote was said long before even Grover Norquist’s parents were born but it is equally true today as it was in Will’s time. The fact of the matter is up until President Bush, taxes have always gone up to help pay for our wars. But when so many ¬†from the GOP crawled up to the altar of Mr. Norquist with their pledges to NEVER raise taxes this tradition was very unwisely flushed down the toilet. When will we ever learn to never say never? Sometimes it seems that those guys in congress love their party more than the love their country. I don’t know; I’m just a simple guy but it seems that way to me.

Here is some now insightful words from 2007:

Source: Bush Breaks 150-Year History of Higher U.S. Taxes in Wartime РBloomberg.

Republican Senator John McCain said that while he’s “not averse to asking for more sacrifice,” he rejects a tax increase, even one on wealthy Americans, to help pay for the war. “I’m not sure what the point would be,” said McCain, who supports Bush’s troop buildup and may run for president in 2008. “I would ask them to make other sacrifices, but I’m not sure I would want to raise their taxes just because we’re in a war.”

Unlike apparently Mr. McCain I am a history buff and I firmly believe in learning from the past in order to keep from making the same mistakes over and over again. ¬†The sharpest rise in the national debt in the last sixty years came as a result of taking President Bush’s wars “off the books”. It is the primary reason we are where we are today.

As Will says their ¬†doesn’t seem to be a congressman,¬†especially those of the GOP variety, who have the nerve to ask ¬†at least some of the voters, especially those who have profited greatly during these times, to help pay for these wars.

It seems pretty simple to me that if wars are necessary then asking citizens to pay for at least part of them is the right thing to do. But maybe the problem with this one, and in fact most of them in my lifetime, is that none of them were really necessary.

When we get into hard times in this country we have always asked those who are much better off than the rest of us to chip in a little of their wealth to help out and in the past they have for the most part gladly done so. ¬†There is a bible verse that goes something like this, “For those who have gained much, much is expected”. ¬†When will we start living by that code again?

About That Debt….

I know there is a lot of fury going on now about how President Obama has increased the national debt. So, when I came across this graph it got my attention. I have had several ranters here lately who proclaim that “that idiot Obama is bankrupting the country”. They go on and on about the increased deficit and how it is their sole reason to drive that “idiot” out of office. I am going to try and give you some insight into this situation but as President Clinton said recently you are going to have to pay attention…

Read more

Just Bill Being Bill….

Source:¬†Fact check: Bill Clinton at the DNC ‚Äď

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ‚Äď Former president Bill Clinton’s stem-winding nomination speech was a fact-checker’s nightmare: lots of effort required to run down his many statistics and factual claims, producing little for us to write about.

Republicans will find plenty of Clinton’s scorching opinions objectionable. But with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out. The worst we could fault him for was a suggestion that¬†President Obama’s¬†Affordable Care Act¬†was responsible for bringing down the rate of increase in health care spending, when the fact is that the law’s main provisions have yet to take effect.

I must admit that I have always enjoyed listening to Mr. Clinton’s speeches. He just has a way with finding just the right words for every story. ¬†If someone had just super-glued his zipper on that fateful day of his “improper relationship” there would be little to fault him with during his presidency. After all he was the only president in 50 years to have a surplus budget. I’m sure if any of my radical right friends dared to listen to his speech last night they are probably still uncontrollably wincing.

During his speech he step-by-step dismantled every argument against President Obama found in the many vitriol comments given at the RNC last week. About the only thing the fact-checker could find in it was that maybe he gave too much credit to Obamacare in causing the healthcare declining costs last year.  I know the Republicans gave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the name Obamacare as a slam but it is now being commonly used as showing an achievement for the president.

If there is anyone who still is on the fence in this election I would strongly advise them to get a copy of this speech and read it. It was a forty-five minute speech given in the typical “Now listen this is important…” Bill Clinton mode. I would attempt to put down some of the most memorable things here but there are just too many to keep below my self-imposed five-hundred or so word limit for blog posts.

The one thing in the speech that I will mention is his comment that during his lifetime he has never seen such hatred displayed toward a president. That is the most distressful part of the Tea Party version of politics to me. We had some very good friends in the past who are now spewing this hatred. To see the anger and hate in their eyes when they talk about the President of the United States is truly scary to me. But maybe the scariest part of this is that they are doing it in church related functions such as Bible study classes. I seem to remember Jesus telling us to love our enemies. My past friends seem to have forgotten that phrase as well as so many other found in their bibles!

But what do I know…

The Job Creators and the Bailout…

I see that the outlying political super pacs otherwise known as the ultra-rich-radical-right are now hitting on Obama because it looks like the government might lose up to $40 billion in the bailout of General Motors.  They claim that it is typical of him to throw away all our tax dollars. But I look at the other side of the coin.

We have lost more than $150 billion in revenues with the tax give-aways of the Bush administration. The main logic behind those tax breaks was that if we tax the “job creators” less they will have more money to hire more people. It is amazing that some, including Mr. Ryan, are still using that rhetoric almost twelve years later. Where are all those jobs that they are supposed to use their additional wealth on? They just didn’t create them; instead they, like Mr. Romney, put the money into their off-shore accounts.

Getting back to the so-called waste of bailing out GM. Since the banks were in a total melt-down at the time it would have been likely that GM and Chrysler would have gone out of business if the governments of Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama had not stepped in. That would have meant millions more would have been added to an already swelling unemployment number. I’m just a simple guy but spending $40 billion to save millions of jobs makes more sense than giving the super-rich more tax breaks with no effect on the economy. I’m sure there are those among the GOP spinsters who are trying to figure out a way to change my mind about this but I think, even though I am a simple guy, I will know enough to see through those yahoos words.

I also hear the stories around just why GM stock is so low right now and that is because all the big money funds are waiting for the government to dump their shares at a discounted rate so they can then jump in and make a windfall profit when it moves to its true value. If I was Mr. Obama I would just keep the stocks to spite those guys. After all what’s another $40 billion to the already exploded deficits? But that is another story for another time I guess.

RJ’s Rules…..

I remember a cop movie years ago starring Stacy Keach. It was about an old timer cop who had rules for every situation. I can’t remember the name of the movie but I want to do likewise. ¬†I have lived quite a few years on this earth and have learned some valuable lessons from the time that I want to record for¬†posterity so I am bringing up a new category here ūüôā

RJ’s Rule 39 — We should have no more military bases in a foreign country¬†than¬†that country has bases in ours.

So let’s look at one country to see how we stand on this situation? ¬†(Thanks again Wikipedia for the info.)

  • pbell Barracks,¬†Heidelberg¬†
  • Coleman Barracks,¬†Mannheim
  • Conn Barracks,¬†Schweinfurt¬†
  • Dagger Complex, Darmstadt Training Center¬†Griesheim
  • Funari Barracks,¬†Mannheim¬†(Scheduled to close December 2012)
  • Germersheim Army Depot,¬†Germersheim
  • Grafenw√∂hr Training Area,¬†Grafenw√∂hr/Vilseck
  • Hammonds Barracks,¬†Mannheim
  • Heidelberg Army Airfield,¬†Heidelberg
  • Hohenfels Training Area/Joint Multinational Readiness Center,¬†Hohenfels (Upper Palatinate)
  • Husterhoeh Kaserne,¬†Pirmasens
  • Kaiserslautern Military Community
  • Katterbach Kaserne,¬†Ansbach
  • Kelley Barracks,¬†Stuttgart
  • Kilbourne Kaserne,¬†Schwetzingen
  • Kleber Kaserne,¬†Kaiserslautern Military Community
  • Lampertheim Training Area,¬†Lampertheim¬†
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center,¬†Landstuhl
  • Ledward Barracks,¬†Schweinfurt¬†
  • Mark Twain Village,¬†Heidelberg¬†
  • McCully Barracks,¬†Wackernheim
  • Miesau Army Depot,¬†Miesau
  • Nachrichten Kaserne,¬†Heidelberg¬†
  • Oberdachstetten Storage Area,¬†Ansbach
  • Panzer Kaserne,¬†Stuttgart
  • Patch Barracks,¬†Stuttgart
  • Pulaski Barracks,¬†Kaiserslautern
  • Patrick Henry Village,¬†Heidelberg¬†
  • Patton Barracks,¬†Heidelberg¬†
  • Rhein Ordnance Barracks,¬†Kaiserslautern
  • Robinson Barracks,¬†Stuttgart
  • Rose Barracks,¬†Vilseck
  • Rottershausen Storage Area,¬†Schweinfurt
  • Sembach Kaserne,¬†Kaiserslautern
  • Shipton Kaserne,¬†Ansbach
  • Smith Barracks,¬†Baumholder
  • Spinelli Barracks,¬†Mannheim¬†
  • Storck Barracks,¬†Illesheim
  • Stuttgart Airport,¬†Stuttgart
  • Sullivan Barracks,¬†Mannheim
  • Tompkins Barracks,¬†Schwetzingen¬†
  • Wiesbaden Army Airfield,¬†Wiesbaden
  • Storage Station,¬†Mainz-Kastel
  • Warner Barracks,¬†Bamberg¬†
  • USAG Wiesbaden Military Training Area, Mainz¬†Gonsenheim/Mombach
  • USAG Wiesbaden Training Area,¬†Mainz Finthen Airport
  • USAG Wiesbaden Radar Station,¬†Mainz Finthen Airport
  • Urlas Housing and Shopping Complex,¬†Ansbach¬†(converted from Urlas Training Area in 2010-2011)
  • Yorktown Housing Complex,¬†Schweinfurt¬†
  • Anderson Barracks,¬†Dexheim¬†(will reopen)

If my count is correct we have fifty bases in Germany alone. We have almost 55,000 soldiers still stationed there! ¬†I don’t think I really have to tell you how many bases Germany has in our country. ¬† How many billions, of dollars does it take to keep these bases open? Your guess is probably as good as mine. But in the end anything over $1.00 is too much. ¬†Germany is by no doubt the strongest country in the European Union and has an economy more¬†prosperous¬†than ours. Why are we injecting billions of dollars in their economy when ours is struggling so much? So why are we there in such numbers? Why are we there at all????

Let’s invoke RJ’s Rule and insist that Germany establish one military base in each of our fifty States. ¬†It is either that or maybe we should just remove our fifty bases from their country. I will let you decide which is the wisest choice…. It is a no-brainer to me….